Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crater Lake Bear-Camper Conflicts Close Sites

The Aspen Daily News reports that camping around Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness has been closed because of bear-camper conflicts.

The restriction keeps overnight visitors away from an area of dangerous bear activity and prevents bears from further obtaining food and garbage suspended from trees and in tents. It also provides a period of time for these bears to begin finding their natural food as berries and acorns become available downvalley, and may help keep these bears from becoming dependent on food and garbage, ultimately leading to their demise.

Texas Town Bans Public Camping

Officials in Graham, Texas, have banned camping in city parks after discovering several homeless people camping in a wooded area.

Minnesota DNR Promoting Yurts

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is also promoting yurts to attract campers to two state parks and a state recreational area in that state. The yurts, to be installed at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and Glendalough and Afton state parks, will feature woodstoves. The yurts join the camper cabins built at 27 state sites since the mid-'90s, also designed to bring more people to the parks more often. Not a bad idea for those less inclined to tent camp!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Save Money Camping

SavingsAngel offers some tips and tricks to save money by camping. Among them:

  1. Camp in state or national parks—or national forests, which are often free, if rustic
  2. Don't join timeshare-like RV camp associations
  3. Do join loyalty programs, like that offered by KOA
  4. Pack your own food
  5. Borrow or rent gear rather than buying it
'Course, if you're going to go camping again, it's better to own your own gear. Regardless, interesting advice!

Unregulated Camping in Alaska

Over the holiday, residents of Talkeetna, Alaska, expressed concern about unregulated camping near Montana Creek. Issues include litter, human waste on the floodplain, and the use of ATVs and firearms.

I recommend that they install those guardrails, or police and fine actively.

Insert Pun About Yurts

Have you ever gone camping in a yurt? I have not.

Tell me about your experiences in the comments.

Of potential interest:
Parks' New Yurts Offer a Camping Experience in the Round

Opening the Adirondacks

Kudos to Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation for opening 22 new campsites in previously inaccessible parts of the Adirondacks. It's part of an effort to open additional land in the region.

"Glamping" in Yellowstone

Regardless of whether you call it fancy camping, dandy camping, or "glamping," some people like all the comforts of home when they go out of doors. Far and Away Adventures offers such outings in Yellowstone.

Of potential interest:
Glamping Offers a Softer Side of Camping in the Great Outdoors

Thursday, July 3, 2014

For the Love of Teardrop Trailers

I fell in love with teardrop trailers the first time I saw one. And I've begun a subtle campaign so that, when my wife and I retire, it won't be a hard sell to buy one. In Yahoo Travel, Lena Katz gives some love to two of my favorite teardrop supports and sellers: Little Guy and So-Cal Teardrops (what's up in Upland?).

If you're unfamiliar with teardrops, be sure to check them out. They're much more interesting than larger, ungainly, more heavily polluting RVs.

Five Reasons to Dislike Camping

Annie Swingen dislikes camping. Here's why:

  • Bad directions
  • Bad weather
  • Body odor
  • Wild animals
  • The cost of camping equipment
Seems to me that each of those objections could be easily addressed—um, wear deoderant and don't buy expensive gear?—but your mileage might vary.

It's OK, Annie. Don't go camping. Not everyone needs to.

But we do.

Wilderness Camping in the Maritime Provinces

Snowshoe Magazine has published a two-part series on camping in the maritime provinces. The first installation addresses solo camping, and the second looks at camping as a couple.

Both reports include excellent photographs and make a solid case for camping in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

New Cabins at Forestville/Mystery Cave in Minnesota

Visitors to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southeast Minnesota should be sure to check out the new camp cabins. They sound wonderful, as do Mystery Cave and the park themselves.

Boy Scout Shot While Camping

A 12-year-old Boy Scout from Las Vegas was shot to death while camping in San Diego. He was found dead in his tent, a handgun nearby. The Scout was attending a weeklong camp at the Fiesta Island Youth Camp with his troop.

It is unclear whether the shooting was a suicide, an accident, or something else. The handgun was unregistered. The camp will be closed until the investigation is complete.

Our sympathies to the people and families involved.

Tips for First-Time Campers

Courtesy of the Irish Caravan and Camping Council, as reported by the Sunday World:

  1. Plan ahead: Plan your route and book early or ring ahead to make sure there’s availability, particularly in the peak season during July and August.
  2. Pack sensibly: Ireland can experience all seasons in one day, even during the summer, so pack accordingly. Ideally, campers should compile a checklist so they’ll only bring what you think they’ll use.
  3. Get a helping hand: When on-site, get to know your camping neighbours and don’t be afraid to ask them for a helping hand.

Mississippi River Flooding Affects Midwest Camping

KCCI-News in Des Moines, Iowa, and the La Crosse Tribune report that the high waters of the Mississippi have affected camping along the river. More than 10 parks in Iowa have closed camp sites or trails because of flood damage and inaccessibility. In Wisconsin, Pettibone Resort might be closed for up to a month because of the water level.

Man Camps in Mall for Veterans

Tupelo, Mississipi, resident Scott Burns is camping inside the Mall at Barnes Crossing for seven days to raise funds for Purple Heart Homes, which invested $30,000 in a local veteran's home last year.

When the fundraiser began, Burns slept on a platform outside the mall, but this year, he's sleeping under a platform in the food court.

Deception Pass

Fans of Mudhoney and The Ring movies might consider a camping trip to Deception Pass State Park near Seattle. The area sounds beautiful and has a rich, colorful history:

Ben Ure Island, just east of the Deception Pass Bridge, became infamous for being an area for smuggling in illegal Chinese immigrants. Ben Ure and his partner, Lawrence “Pirate” Kelly, would tie up the immigrants in burlap bags so that they could toss them overboard if U.S. customs agents came near. The currents would then carry the bodies to San Juan Island, in what is now known as Dead Man’s Bay. Between 1910 and 1924, a prison rock quarry was operated on Fidalgo Island. About 40 prisoners, including convicted murderers, worked at the quarry. The camp was taken apart in 1924, but remains of it can still be found.

Transients Arrested for Sleeping on the Beach

Freedom camping and urban camping aside, in many communities, it is against the law to sleep outside overnight. Case in point: Panama City, Florida. Police officers there recently arrested 11 people for camping on the beach, citing a law prohibiting sleeping in public areas between 1 and 6 a.m.

The 1973 law also prohibits temporary resting along beaches at night and, if a suspect doesn't have lodging or a destination, covers camping within the city limits.

We wish those arrested the best of luck. And we encourage Panama City to consider improving local services for homeless and transients and to reconsider laws limiting nighttime access to the beach.

Urban Camping in Colorado—and Elsewhere

Leaders in Eagle and Eagle County, Colorado, are considering the creation of an urban camp in which visitors could pitch tents within walking distance of area stores and restaurants. Initially proposed in response to a need for short-term camping facilities to accommodate participants in the Colorado State High School Biking Championships and other events at the nearby fairgrounds, the concept has raised some concerns, including worries that migrant workers would try to live there.

Have any Camplifornians gone urban camping? Share your stories in the comments.

Of potential interest:

Camping in Missouri

Kudos to the Springfield News-Leader for recently publishing a story about camping in Missouri. The feature includes several comments from area campers but is relatively devoid of details or resources.

Interested campers should check out the Missouri State Parks and Missouri Department of Conservation sites for trip ideas.

Freedom Camping in New Zealand

Thanks to an article in today's edition of the Gisborne Herald about the costs incurred by the district to maintain its related sites, I learned the phrase "freedom camping." Apparently, in New Zealand, unless it is posted to the contrary, it is legal to camp on public land, including unimproved land without facilities—even if the location isn't formally a campground or site. The concept is similar to Scandinavia and Europe's freedom to roam idea, which embraces the public's right to access wilderness.

In the United States, there's not a strong corollary to freedom camping or freedom to roam, but private individuals aren't always able to stop others from crossing their land to access adjacent wilderness. For example, Malibu landowners being fined for blocking beach access.

I'd love to learn more about the history of freedom camping. If any Camplifornians can recommend resources, I'd appreciate it!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camp Cooking Tools: The Dutch Oven

WDIV-Detroit sent Ashlee Baracy to the Auburn Hills, Michigan, Bass Pro Shops to learn about Dutch oven cooking and other camp cooking tools such as the Marshmallow Tree, pie irons, and the Rome Hamburger Griller. The TV segment also touches on sleeping bags, cots, and tents.

Also of note is Friday's Los Angeles Times article on Dutch oven cooking.

Planning Healthy Menus

Michelle Cardel, nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, University of Colorado Denver, suggests that family campers avoid traditional summertime cookout fare such as hot dogs and instead plan healthy meals—and the fixings—ahead of time.

Her recommendations include eggs, oatmeal, salad, veggie burgers, and fruit—as well as other menu options. Most interesting tip: "Pre-make ... by cooking eggs ... before you go. When ready to eat, heat in a skillet over the grill until warm."

Camping Tips: Electronics and Food Storage

Solvej Schou of the Associated Press offers a handful of tips for families that plan to go camping soon. Highlights include:

  • Unplug: "You can always bring an external battery pack and angrily play Candy Crush for hours, but that really defeats the purpose of being outdoors. ... Remember that the Internet will still be there later. Play cards, eat, drink, breathe in fresh air, hike, build a campfire and enjoy the company of others -- in person instead of online."
  • Stow food away: "Never leave trash, toiletries, dirty dishes, food or drinks unattended. Don't leave trash and open containers in your car or around the campsite. Keep your tent zipped up, and keep in mind that bugs and birds also enjoy nibbling on half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches, so don't give them the chance."

Thieves Steal Boy Scout Camping Trailer

Early this weekend, thieves stole a trailer containing camping equipment owned by Troop 575 in Redmond, Washington. The trailer held the troop's camping and cooking equipment, as well as patrol flags. Despite the loss, the troop still plans to go camping this summer.

Camping Memories: Appalachians and Catskills

In The Columbus Dispatch on Saturday, Jon Pugh recalls backpacking the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains with a few fellow 60 year olds. And in Florida Today, Ruth Ceike Meier recollects camping at the Beaverkill Campground in the Catskill Mountains as a child.

Safe Camping and Hiking in the Desert Southwest

In Sunday's edition of the Las Vegas Sun, Tony Nester, an instructor at wilderness training school Ancient Pathways, offers five must-haves for safe desert camping and hiking:

  1. A first aid kit that includes items for treating insect stings and snake bites
  2. Shelter, such as a poncho or tarp, so you can create your own shade
  3. Water
  4. Three fire starters: a lighter, a spark rod, and storm-proof matches
  5. Something to signal with: a bright item of clothing or small mirror and a whistle

And So It Begins...

No manifesto, no grand design, no poetic call of the wild. This weekend I went camping with my family. And I can't wait to go camping again. We live in California.